Captain Jack Harkness: A 51st century guy

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In the Doctor Who series, Captain Jack Harkness is a character that is extremely important. John Barrowman’s character, Captain Jack Harkness, first appeared in the episode “The Empty Child”. The first lines that we hear him say are “Excellent bottom.” and “Sorry, old man. I gotta go meet a girl, but you’ve got an excellent bottom too.”, referring to Rose and Algy’s backsides, respectively. This was the first indicator for me that Jack was not 100% straight like most of the Doctor Who characters that we had been introduced to. In fact, the 9th Doctor and Rose talk about how open he is with flirting with everyone. The 9th Doctor says that because Jack is from the 51st century, he is “more flexible when it comes to dancing”, which I am assuming means sex or something similar.

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One reason why I think that Jack’s character is so important to Doctor Who is because he is one of the few characters that is portrayed as not being heterosexual. There are others throughout the series, but most, with the exception of River Song, do not appear in as many episodes as Jack does. While it is never explicitly said that Jack has a specific label, it is clear that he takes interest in more than just men and women. The LGBTQ community has become more widely accepted, but it is still not portrayed as much in the media. The media does a good job including gay or lesbian characters, but bisexual, pansexual, transgender, and others are not portrayed. In this sense, I feel like the media has failed because it excludes those who may not want to label themselves, do not conform to a specific gender, or have different preferences.

A second reason why I think that Jack’s character is so important is because John Barrowman, who plays Jack, is an openly gay actor. In 2013, California’s Supreme Court had overturned the ban on same sex weddings, and Barrowman was able to marry his partner of 22 years. I think that it’s a great thing that the director and casting crew of Doctor Who chose a person of the LGBTQ community to play a non-heterosexual character. I think that a lot of times the casting of a movie or tv show is done poorly because a heterosexual actor/actress will be cast as a character of the LGBTQ community or maybe vice versa, although I do not know of any examples of that. There are other casting mistakes that the media makes in terms of diversity, such as a Caucasian actor/actress playing a character of another race. Even though I am not a member of the LGBTQ community, it was very refreshing and exciting to see representation. I have many friends that are a part of the LGBTQ community and have often heard that some people say that bisexual people don’t exist or that bisexuality is a phase and other things like that. It’s important that all spectrums are represented because it’s comforting to see something in the media that you identify with.

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